Monday, December 16, 2013

'Tis the Season to Write


For many, the winter is about snowball fights, making snowmen, sledding, snow angels, hot cocoa, sleigh rides under warm blankets, and Christmas lights. Children's laughter can be heard up and down the streets of most neighborhoods. The words of holiday songs seem to come to life.

I hate the cold. I don't like playing in the snow. I don't like the biting wind. I force myself to smile through chattering teeth. I endure snow hitting my face and sliding into the neck of my coat. I chance frostbite in my fingers to make misshapen snowmen. I grit my teeth so the car windows can be down in below freezing temps in order to drive through the park's Christmas light exhibit. Did I mention that laying back into the snow's icy embrace to form a snow angel makes me jump for joy?

Yet, all of this I do for my precious child, who is worth every ice cold moment. 

Despite my dislike of cold temperatures, I love the winter. Specifically, snow days. For me, it's about hot tea, fuzzy slippers, and plenty of writing time INDOORS near the fire. I love snow days when the roads ice over, several feet of snow fall, and everyone is forced to stay at home because it's too dangerous to drive. It is during these times when I can disappear for hours into my current writing project and write to my hearts content. School is canceled, work is closed, and I am allowed to disappear into the fantasy world I've created while my sweet hub entertains the kiddo with LEGOs, video games, or a sword fight.

Unlike any other season, winter is a writer's season. It's THIS writer's season, anyway. The spring, summer, and fall are full of many outdoor activities, but it's in winter that, for me, the distractions are limited and I feel like I make the most progress on my writing projects. For this, I owe Jack Frost an apology and a big thank you.

Which season is your favorite? Do you feel like there is a certain time of year when you make the most progress on your projects? What do you loath that you force yourself to endure for the love of your children?

Happy Writing this Winter!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

NaNo is Over! Happy Dance!



NaNoWriMo is OVER!!! It's HAPPY DANCE TIME!!!!

I reached 15K words this year, which was more than I managed to get last year. I am very proud of this, but mostly I'm just glad it's over. The pressure that NaNoWriMo brings is so intense, it almost makes writing no fun for me. I'm not sure why I thought I should do it again.

I'm actually excited to write again tomorrow. No worries about what my word count is. Just writing for the pure fun of it.

I think my main problem was that I had a new world I wanted to build and I felt like I couldn't because I needed to write and get my word count in. Guess what I'm doing now that NaNo is over?!!


While we're on the subject of having fun, have you read Shine 1 or Shine 2  by William Bernhardt, yet? Shine 3 will be coming out this month, so you still have time to get caught up. Though they are generally $2.99, there will be a 5 day period when they'll be sold for $0.99 each. I'll be sure to let everyone know when! I've had so much fun working on my installment that I'm hoping will be published in 2014 sometime.

Did anyone else cry during the Dr. Who 50th Anniversary special?

Friday, November 15, 2013

It Always Seems Impossible Until It's Done



I just realized I haven't posted in 2 weeks, nor have I said why. So sorry, friends. For the rest of November, all writing time I manage to find will be dedicated to NaNoWriMo. I'm working long days, so those hours I get to write are precious. I'll be back regularly in December. Until then, happy writing and good luck to anyone else participating.

Thought for the month:


Monday, October 28, 2013

Mini-Me and Movie Madness

My 6 year old is very much like me, a bit of sci-fi/fantasy nerd. A bit. *cheesy grin* Lately, he is very much into anything that has to do with the undead: ghosts, zombies, vampires, witches, necromancers. Our latest conversation centered around the last. He wanted to know what the difference between a necromancer's magic and a witch's magic. As with any conversation with this beautiful child, it became a snowball of: "What if this?" and "What if that?" questions.

And soon I had the beginning kernels of a book idea.

I have to say, some of the most entertaining and thought provoking conversations I've experienced in my life have been with this child of mine. I know one day soon, he'll grow up and begin to pull away to do his own thing. He'll go through the 'my parent's are so uncool' stage. It makes me sad when I think about it. Until that happens, I'm determined to bask in being his favorite person and I continue encouraging every unique question he throws at me.

Here we are dressed for a Mummy and Son Dance we attended a few nights ago. He has taken to calling me 'My Lady' recently and so chose that we should go to the costume party as a handsome knight and his Queen. I did say he is a SFF fan like me, didn't I?

The Fall is my favorite time and not just because of the holidays. I'm sure by now that my fellow SFF fans have noticed all the amazing movies set to come out over the next 2 months. Ender's Game, Thor: The Dark World, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I think I'm most excited about the first, though a bit apprehensive at the same time. Will it be as good as the book? I really hope so.

Anyone else have a child that inspires story ideas with their questions? What is your costume for this Halloween? Been to any fun parties? Which movies are you most looking forward to?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Doctor Who? Doctor Who!


My earliest memories of my love for the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre are of sitting down with my mom to enjoy Star Trek: The Next Generation. They're followed by the endless run of seriously odd stuff shown on the Sci/Fi Channel over the years, countless movie motion pictures, and books. Lots and lots of books. Despite this upbringing, I never once heard of/watched/discovered the world of Doctor Who.

A tragedy, I now know.

For the last 5 years or so, I've had friends and acquaintances express shock at this void in my sci-fi/fantasy experience. "How can you call yourself a real fan of the genre?" has been asked of me, over and over and over. I always rolled my eyes and laughed them off. I prefer books anyway and simply don't watch much TV, so its been easy to continue missing out in blissful ignorance.

Earlier today, avoiding the current writing project because of yet another plot snag, I was playing on Facebook and an ad for a Doctor Who fan group popped up on my page. Curious and bored, I finally decided to go check out what so many of my fellow sci/fi friends were going on about.

I decided to start with the 2010 debut of the 11th Doctor Who, The Eleventh Hour...

And. I'm. Hooked.

How did I go all of my childhood without seeing one episode? What could I do, but call my mom and ask why she never watched it or allowed me to. Her answer? "Oh, I liked it. It just always came on after I put you kids to bed."

So there you have it, folks. A cruel placement of time and a responsible parent are to blame. I'm going to try to get caught up before Season 8 airs, but the truth is, I don't watch much TV. I just like books better. Thank goodness for the ability to watch each episode when I want on the internet.

Have you checked out the Shine Universe yet? I'll be one of the authors contributing to this world.  A new one will release each month and mine will come out sometime in 2014. Go here for Shine 1.

I chose to start with the reveal of the 11th Doctor because I like Matt Smith. Who is your favorite Doctor? Do you remember how you first became introduced to the longest running science fiction series? Have you read Shine 1?


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Get your SHINE on FREE the next 5 Days!!!



It's FREE!!!

SHINE 1: Childhoods End is available HERE for the next 5 days at NO cost to you!! Please check it out and if you like what you read, I hope you'll leave a review. It's a novella, so quick to read. The next 4 installments, also written by SHINE universe creator William Bernhardt, will come out each consecutive month for only $0.99 each.

This is a ongoing serialized novel in which multiple authors will write. Bill honored me, by asking me to be one of the writers creating stories in this universe and as soon as I know when my SHINE story comes out, I'll be sure to let you all know.

Did you watch the trailer I posted earlier this week? Have you read SHINE 1: Childhood's End? Did you leave a review? Feel free to tell me what you think on here as well. Thanks for reaching out and supporting this fun new project I am so excited to be part of, blog friends!

Monday, October 7, 2013

SHINE!! So exciting!



I mentioned a while back that I was excited to be asked to write in a fun new project and I'm super excited to finally be able to share the details!!! The photo above is the cover for the first installment of a fun new serialized ongoing novel that will release one installment a month. The first 5 installments were written by the SHINE Universe creator and bestselling author, William Bernhardt. He invited several other writers, including yours truly, to also write in the fabulous SHINE Universe, which will come out sometime after the first 5 installments. 

SEE! I told you, exciting!

Even better, this first installment to release THIS Thursday, is absolutely FREE for the 1st 5 days!!

After Monday, each one will be only $0.99!

There is also a really cool trailer for it. It isn't a comic book or graphic novel, but fully prose, each at novella length. Bill just really likes comic books and so the trailer was made in that fashion. If you'd like to check out the trailer, go here!

The cover and trailer not enough? Here's a little more about followed by a little Q&A with the SHINE Universe creator himself.

In the near future, a few young women manifest extraordinary abilities called "Shine."  Each girl's ability is different.  Some develop extraordinary mental abilities. Some become physically strong. Others have powers that defy description.  But the world does not embrace these Shines. It fears them.

Aura was only trying to use her healing powers to help a small child.  But when she Shined, something went horribly wrong--and all of Seattle was destroyed.  In the aftermath of this disaster, the government institutionalizes Shines in "rehabilitative treatment centers." Aura is sent to the Transforming Your Light island rehab--but to her it seems more like a prison.  The other Shines hate her.  The people running the place are out to get her.  And she feels certain more is going on here than "group grope" and twelve-step programs.  But when she tumbles onto the horrible secret beneath the rehab--she realizes just how great the danger to her and all the other Shines really is. 

Aura resolves to escape before it's too late.  But she can only do that if she organizes the Shines, persuades them to work together, and overcomes the deadly opposition she only barely understands.

Here's the Q&A that appears at the end of the first installment:

Q&A with the Author

1) Where did you get this crazy idea of breaking the story up into serialized segments?

From Charles Dickens.  I got my Masters in Victorian Literature and studied Dickens extensively.  He serialized most of his novels in magazines called Household Words and All the Year Round before he published them in book form.  Dickens was the most successful writer of his day—and self-published.  He owned,edited, and wrote most of the magazines, often using pseudonyms to disguise the fact that he wrote most of it himself. Occasionally he would let another writer contribute a story, and in this way, he launched many writing careers, although he introduced a new Dickens novel regularly to maintain reader interest.  I think Dickens would've loved the Internet and the eBook revolution and the opportunity it gives writers to reach their readers without being dependent upon publishers (or giving away most of the profits).

2) Why are you making this saga so inexpensive?

Again, Dickens.  He wrote for the people, not the snobs and the critics, and yet his works are still admired and studied a hundred and fifty years after his death. He always made sure his work was available in affordable editions and library editions so that anyone who wanted to read them could do so.  I’ll do the same thing.

3) How long will this story go?

The first main story arc is about a hundred thousand words long.  After that, I've invited some writer-friends to create Shine novellas, and those will appear while I write the next big story arc.  We’re working in close collaboration, though, so don’t think these novellas will be side shows unrelated to the primary story line.  They will be closely intertwined and the novellas will provide many clues for the attentive reader about what is to come. They will also introduce characters that will become important later in the main arc. And don’t make the mistake of assuming the stories not written by me won’t be as good.  I've only invited top-flight writers to participate.  I maybe sorry I did. Some of their novellas may blow my stories right out of the water.

4) If these are prose novels and stories, why are the covers and the trailer done in comic-book style?

This simplest answer is: Because I love comics, always have, always will. I've also read Shakespeare, Joyce, Dickens, Woolf, Faulkner, etc.  I’m not a snob.  I like good stories regardless of how they are told.  But I've always wanted to do a comic-style story, so this is my chance to play in that sandbox, in prose form.  Here’s the sad truth about modern comics.  Some of them are excellent, but they cost $2.99 or $3.99 each and you can read them in about five minutes.  Sure, you get terrific art (sometimes), but not that much entertainment value, time-wise, for your money.  With the Shine series, you’ll get a terrific bargain, at least a night's worth of entertainment, for an extremely small amount of money.

5) Will these stories ever appear in print editions?

At some point, yes, but for now, I’m focused on eBooks.  I think that’s the wave of the future, and as long as I keep the price low, anyone can enjoy them and no one need be tempted to search for illegal downloads. This is a more than fair price, so I hope you will give it willingly and enjoy what you get in return.

6) Does this mean you won’t write your Ben Kincaid series any more?

No. I always prefer to do another book or three between Ben books.

7) Will there ever be a sequel to The Black Sentry?

Yes.  But don’t ask me when.

8) Will you do any more books on writing?

Yes. I've done three books in the RedSneaker Writers series and I’ll release three more in 2014.

9) How long do you plan to do these Shine stories?

Forever.

So there it is! Did you catch that reference to 'top-flight writers' in question #3? *wiggles eyebrows*

Seriously though, I'm extremely honored that Bill asked me to write in this amazing world and I'll hope that you'll tune back in Thursday to check out the FREE first installment. I know you'll fall in love with the SHINE world just like I did. 

What do you think about the cover for installment 1? Did you go over to Bill's Facebook via the link I shared and check out the trailer? Does the blurb above have you intrigued? I hope so.



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Using a Nonfiction Theme to Pitch Your Fiction

Pitch your nonfiction theme. Every work of fiction has one.

This little nugget of wisdom came from author, David Morrell, creator of the original Rambo character that inspired the Sylvester Stallone movies at a local conference I attended this weekend.

I love conferences. I always learn something that helps me grow as a writer. This one was no exception.

Like most writers, I struggle with pitching my book. I can talk about it at great length to anyone who'll listen, but put a restraint on me and my brain wants to freeze up. It's so frustrating. How do I put a 127,000 word epic fantasy into one minute? The closer I came to being ready to submit, the harder I found this question to answer. How could I know my story so well, yet be completely at a loss when it comes time to pitch? How do I condense it down and still keep it interesting?

Mr. Morrell suggests pitching on the nonfiction topic. Human's gravitate toward that which they identify. Every writer has a reason they are writing, some truth they are seeking to share under the guise of entertainment. Pitch that truth and you have instant interest.

It makes sense when you think about it. You have the nonfiction issue of race and morality in the famous Huckleberry Finn, greed and decayed social and moral values in The Great Gatsby, and death as well as friendship in Harry Potter. 


I've since studied by own nonfiction topic. Talk about self-psychoanalysis.

After thinking about it, I realized one of my nonfiction topics is blind faith. I know many people who struggle or have given up on believing in a god they can't see. This topic fascinates me. So I wrote a book with a protagonist who must learn to believe in a god he was taught didn't exist in order to save his dying world and those he loves who live in it. I want my readers to think about what they'd do in my MC's place. Would they be able to overcome the abuse, the sadness, the pure evil they see everyday and believe in a loving god of goodness for whom they sees no evidence? It's subtle, after all, I am writing fantasy, not Christian fiction, but then, that's the point. I don't went to pound a belief into anyone.

What nonfiction themes do you gravitate toward in your fiction? If you write, what is the nonfiction theme you're currently using? Been to/or plan to attend any good conferences?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bookish Questions

Hey all,

Darci Cole did this over on her blog, and I thought it was so fun, so I thought I'd take a stab at it!

Favorite book cover
The cover of  The Great Gatsby. That face seemingly floating in the sky is eerie.


What are you reading right now?
I'm trying a new author out and really enjoying her so far.
Daughter of Mythos by Melissa Drake


Do you have any idea what you'll read when you're done with that?
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher



What five books have you always wanted to read but haven't gotten round to?
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, finally!


What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?
None.


What's the worst book you've ever read?
I truly try to forget them. I see no reason to change that now.


What book seemed really popular but you didn't like it?
50 Shades...I mean, seriously. Thankfully, I simply tried the free excerpt and didn't waste my money.


What's the one book you always recommend to just about anyone?
The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson


What are your three favorite poems?
I'm not huge into poetry, but read one by friend and author, William Bernhardt, a while back and it still stays with me. It's called AIB, 13 and is about his daughter, but I think of my son and how too soon this will happen to me. I really loved it. I also loved Scratches in the same book. You can find his book of poetry which has these poem among many, here.


Where do you usually get your books?
Full Circle Books, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.


When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
Nope, I read anywhere and everywhere.


What's the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was too good to put down?
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson, 3 weeks ago.


Have you ever "faked" reading a book?
Nope


Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
I pick up a book b/c I like the cover. I buy it if the blurb on back keeps my attention.


What was your favorite book when you were a child?
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis


What book changed your life?
Mistborn: The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
Why? Because I had been struggling with my faith and I identified with Sazed in this book. That was when I the first kernels of a dream began. A dream to write something that would make others think, that would resonate with others the way this book did with me.


What is your favorite passage from a book?
This passage resonated with me. It's the thoughts of the character, Sazed, as he struggles with faith.

"Why did they believe? Because they saw miracles. Things one man took as chance, a man of faith took as a sign. A loved one recovering from disease, a fortunate business deal, a chance meeting with a long lost friend. It wasn't the grand doctrines or the sweeping ideals that seemed to make believers out of men. It was the simple magic in the world around them.

What was it Spook said? Sazed thought, sitting in the shadowy kandra cavern.That faith was about trust. Trusting that somebody was watching. That somebody would make it all right in the end, even though things looked terrible at the moment.

To believe, it seemed, one had to want to believe. It was a conundrum, one Sazed had wrestled with. He wanted someone, something, to force him to have faith. He wanted to have to believe because of the proof shown to him.

Yet, the believers whose words now filled his mind would have said he already had proof. Had he not, in his moment of despair, received an answer? As he had been about to give up, TenSoon had spoken. Sazed had begged for a sign, and received it.

Was it chance? Was it providence?

In the end, apparently, it was up to him to decide. He slowly returned the letters and journals to his metalminds, leaving his specific memory of them empty—yet retaining the feelings they had prompted in him. Which would he be? Believer or skeptic? At that moment, neither seemed a patently foolish path.

I do want to believe, he thought. That's why I've spent so much time searching. I can't have it both ways. I simply have to decide.

Which would it be? He sat for a few moments, thinking, feeling, and—most important—remembering.

I sought help, Sazed thought. And something answered.

Sazed smiled, and everything seemed a little bit brighter. Breeze was right, he thought, standing and organizing his things as he prepared to go. I was not meant to be an atheist.” 

Who are your top five favorite authors?

Brandon Sanderson
Robert Jordan
Terry Goodkind
Violette Malan
Kate Forsyth


What book has no one heard about but should read?
If you haven't read, UNWIND by Neal Shusterman, just do. The scene where you experience the unwind will blow your mind.


What book are you an "evangelist" for?
The Mistborn Trilogy


What are your favorite books by a first time author?

SHIRI by D.S. Taylor
SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo
ONE by LeighAnn Kopans
DAUGHTER OF MYTHOS by Melissa Drake



What is your favorite classic book?
The Chronicles of Narnia, or Pride and Prejudice

5 other notable mentions?
My guilty pleasure is paranormal romance. Authors within that genre that I love:
Laurell K. Hamilton
Christine Feehan
Gena Showalter
J.R. Ward
Sherrilyn Kenyon

Any of these books familiar? Any first time authors you'd recommend?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Kid Logic & the PTA

Yesterday I took the kiddo to his first piano lesson. Turns out it's his last for at least another year. Apparently, playing your own music instead of playing what your piano teacher wants you to play is bad. *shrug* Go figure.

When I asked him what he thought about piano lessons, he looked me right in the eye and stated, "It was fun, but would have been a lot funner if she'd have let me play the music I wanted to play. My music is way better than hers, mom. Can you just get me my own keyboard? I'll teach my own piano lessons to myself."

How do I even argue with that?

Today begins my obligation to the kiddo's school PTA. *sigh* I am not one of those moms who enjoys being up at my kids school, well, ever. I 'did' school already. It's boring and tedious. I made good grades, because when you're forced to be some place for most of the hours of the day, there's nothing else to do but accept the inevitable and make the best of it. The kiddo is showing signs of the same opinion. How do I know? Comments like, "Mom, why can't I stay home with you?" and "School is so boring." are really good indicators.

My goal: Pass the 'make the best of it' attitude on to him.

The day I graduated University will always be one of the greatest days of my life as it signaled FINALLY reaching the end of school. Now I can read what I want, write what I want, and do what I want. *Looks over at trophy orders that need to be filled* Sorta.

I enjoyed my liberation from school for all of 7 years, then the kiddo started school. *sigh* Am I the only one that feels like, as the parent, I'm the one back in school? I have to get up early in the morning to get him up for school. I have to make time for homework and sit down to help him with it. I can't just go on a spontaneous vacation somewhere, because God help us if he misses more than so many days of school.

The point? I've let myself be coerced into 'helping' at his school, again. So each week, I must go up and spend my time doing my motherly duty and I'm not looking forward to it. I'm abnormal, I know. Many of my fellow mommas seem to enjoy this stuff. Believe me, I know. I see them every time I have to step foot into that school.

Maybe it's how I was raised. My mom certainly didn't go up to my school to 'help'. In fact, I don't remember ever seeing very many moms at my school during the day to day running of it. Sure, they appeared for some things, but it didn't seem to be as much as I see now. Maybe it's the perspective.

Does your kid's logic often have you smiling and shaking your head? Are an 'involved' parent who is forced to spend time at your kid's school? Do you feel like you're being forced to 'go to school' again, like I do?





Friday, September 6, 2013

7th Anniversary, Vegas, and an End to Writer's Block


Last weekend, I celebrated my 7th wedding anniversary by surprising my hard to surprise hub with a trip to Vegas. *pats self on back* I hate secrets and this one nearly killed me trying to keep it. But I did it! The hub, never to be outdone, had these waiting in our room upon arrival!

Love him!

We took in a few shows. The first of which I ran 2 miles across the strip in 2.5" platform shoes b/c I might have planned poorly. (My feet are still recovering).
 

It was worth it though to see, Chris Angel, the fuzzy one on the right. That dude has serious skills. You think the Anti-Christ would appear as a magician? *shrug* Probably not a big enough platform for dreams of world domination, but it was straight up eerie how good he was.

We also gambled, albeit responsibly. Meaning we took money we didn't mind losing and proceeded to lose some of it. I love the craps tables, while the hub is into blackjack. Both of us really enjoyed ourselves and pretty much broke even on the win/loss ratio.

The kiddo is into Plants vs. Zombies, so when I saw a slot machine in this theme, I had to stick in a dollar for him. I won $10. Always knew that kid was lucky!

I also was lucky enough to get a few hours at the spa. Heaven. (My feet from previous mentioned 2 mile sprint might have been celebrating) The rejuvenation must have been what I needed because my first day back to writing after that lovely 5 day vacation, saw me get over a major writer's block I'd been experiencing the week before. Woot! Give it up for vacations.

Anyone else celebrating an anniversary? Go anywhere interesting over the Labor Day weekend? Any other good methods for killing writer's block besides spending a ton on a vacation to sin city?


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dragoncon...will have to wait until next year

Dragoncon is next weekend. I'm sad I don't get to go, but I do have plans to make it with girlfriends next year so I'm telling myself it's okay. *sigh* Anyone going next weekend? Let me know so I can stalk your pictures in envy. To be fair, the conference starts on the day of my 7th anniversary. The hub is taking me to the very posh Vast Restaurant at the top of the Devon Tower in OKC. I'm exicted. I'm also hoping I can rope him into snuggling on the couch afterward with this movie, which comes out on DVD this week.


Since it IS our anniversary, my chances are pretty good. The hub does spoil me so!

Last night I celebrated the upcoming marriage of one of my oldest and best friends, Kendra.

Her and her soon-to-be-husband, Dean, are so perfect for each other and all I can say is it is about time!!! I wish them all the best, and pray God's blessings rain down on them and their life together. 


As a result of last evening's wild antics, I'm exhausted. To pull out the ol' MS and try to make any progress would most likely end up being deleted anyway, so here I am visiting the blogosphere.  *waves* 


Hey, the quote simply says to write a lot. Writing a pointless blog post and reading other blogs counts toward this, right?! *shrug* This is as good as it gets when I'm this fuzzy headed.

Going to Dragoncon next weekend? I miss seeing most movies in theaters b/c I'm just weird like that, so anyone else looking forward to The Great Gatsby on DVD as much as I am? 

Thanks so much for visiting my page, dear bloggy friends!



Monday, August 12, 2013

Anti-Blogfest GaryFest


Today is the Anti-Blogfest Gary Fest, a blogfest in honor of anti-bloghop himself, Gary at Klahanie! How could I not join something that specifically tells me not to...it's like sticking your finger into an electrical outlet and expecting to get shocked...you know its bad news, but you JUST.CAN'T.HELP.YOURSELF. *cheesy-grin*

Hosted by none other than:

Mark "Madman" Koopmans
Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh
Morgan "The Sweetest Friend Ever" Shamy
Robyn Engel
Life is good Tina


So what's this all about, you're wondering? Well, it's simple really.

Create the titles of three PG-13 blogfests you would never join--and then add a descriptive sentence or two.

The 3 Blogfest I would never join:

1) The Dig Out Your Biggest Booger and Take a Photo of It Bloghop- Ack, can you see posts and posts of nasty green slime posted all over the blogosphere?!

2) The Post a Sample of your Very First Attempts At Writing Bloghop-I'd be so embarrassed to reveal to the world how bad I was!

3) Best Whistler Video Bloghop- *sigh* I can't whistle!

There's my 3, how about you? Would you participate in any of the 3 bloghops above? Do you follow Gary? This bloghop helped me find his blog and I really like what I see! Don't forget to pop over to our hosts and give a little shout out to some of the coolest bloggers around!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Platform Building Campaign 5...Woot!


Wanted to share with my bloggy friends, in case you haven't been over to Rach Writes recently, she is gearing up with the the help of Cally Writes for Platform Building Campaign 5. Signups are in September, so make sure you're on the list!!!

This campaign helped my blog get off the ground and set me up to meet some of the most fantastic bloggers that I can call close friends today. *winks at Morgan Shamy*

If your a bloggy friend that hasn't had the pleasure of experiencing one of these campaigns, then I would encourage you to give it a go. You won't regret it! I hope to see you on the list!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Poison Ivy


Risa opened her eyes. She lay among an unfamiliar moonlit forest, her cheek resting on her outstretched arm. No sound broke the stillness around her. Where was she? How had she come to be here? She searched her memory, but could remember only her name. Her heart hammered in her chest. Why couldn't she remember?

She rolled to her feet and waited in a crouch. Only stillness surrounded her. Her breath rushed in and out of her chest. She closed her eyes and willed herself to calm.

She peered through the trees, compelled to go forward. She moved from shadow to shadow, careful to avoid breaking twigs under her feet. Straining eyes and ears, she studied the forest around her. No breeze sighed through the trees. No night creatures chattered. She shivered. The hairs on her arms lifted. Goose-flesh dotted her arms and legs.

The glimmer of moonlight on water shimmered ahead. Crouching behind the closest tree, she peaked from between the foliage. A still pond covered, almost entirely, a small clearing. A mirror amidst a tangle of vines. A jewel nestled within a leafy nest.

The pond beckoned. She slid from the protection of the trees into the clearing on hands and knees. Her gaze darted from side to side knowing this would be the perfect place to ambush someone. She paused. How did she know this?

The water, so still, pulled her gaze back to its glassy surface. She eased closer. The tiniest of shivers disturbed the water. She froze. The water stilled once again. She leaned toward the pond's edge. The water rippled. A woman floated under the water's surface, pale and wrapped in vines, her long white hair floating around her as if alive. The woman opened her eyes and focused her ancient gaze on Risa.

She jerked away from the pond, her hand covering her mouth. She closed her eyes and forced her racing heart to calm. Leaning forward again, she met  the still woman's black eyes. She leaned closer, reaching her hand toward the woman. The woman smiled and lifted her vine wrapped hand. Their fingers touched and stuck. Risa pulled back, but her finger remained attached to the woman's. The woman pressed her palm to Risa's. She yanked against her hand, her gaze jumping up to meet the woman's.

Do not fight the exchange. My time is over. You are chosen.

The woman's lips moved under the water, but the voice echoed inside Risa's own head. She bit her lip and tugged on her hand again. Her fingers began to tingle, then burn. Her veins turned from blue to red beginning at her fingertips and crawling up her arm. She tugged harder. Her breath, a loud rush in the quiet stillness of the clearing, moved rapidly in and out of her lungs. Her skin lightened from sun kissed to palest white as the bite of a million tiny ants prickled on her skin. Her eyes locked with the woman' s as a scream tore from her throat to echo around the suddenly boiling waters of the pond. Information poured into her mind. The vines from the woman's arm creeped over her fingers, twisting around Risa's arm, up her shoulder. She clawed at it with her free hand. The woman pulled her hand away from Risa and let it float back into the water.

Surging to her feet, she looked down to see the red in her veins flowing up from her feet. She looked inward, at the visions filling her mind as the vines covered her body. Her life force connected with those of the forest's green inhabitants. She stretched her arms and the tree's limbs reached toward the pond. She shook her hip length hair and the vines surrounding the pond rippled. She breathed and the forest sighed.

The woman's body broke the surface of the water and hovered over the pond, her eyes closing as the vines left her skin completely to wrap around Risa. The woman rose to a standing position over the water and stepped onto the bank.

You are the heart now. Until your time comes to pass into the next world and the next chosen takes your place, you will burn within the ivy's embrace. Your only relief will come within the pond's soothing waters. Gift or curse, it is for you to decide.

The woman walked away, never once looking back, until she vanished in the moonlight.

The fire burned beneath her skin, the power longing to flow from her fingers, to suck the life force from the living. She searched her haven, this small pond, the clearing, and the dark wood that surrounded it. At the edge, she became aware of a steady thumping. A young boar hog, having wondered too close, nosed for grub worms under a fallen log. It did not see the vines creeping over the ground toward it.

She smiled. The hog froze, its beady little eyes searching for the source of its unease. Seeing nothing, the hog lowered its nose toward the log. The vines shivered as the nose moved closer. Quick as lightning, the vines wrapped the hog, pulling its life force from it. She tilted back her head as the burning in her skin eased, her nipples tightened, her skin flushed pink.

As the pink faded from her skin, the burning returned. She reached for the trees outside her haven, commanding them to find her another life. They moaned their sorrow, and the connection faded. Until summoned, her connection with the flora and fauna outside this wood would fail. She screamed as her skin burned hotter and dove into the pond. She would wait in the pool until she was called and then someone would pay. No one kept Poison Ivy contained. She was the heart of the world's wood.

***

For the past 10 days, I've been tortured by a run in with the very real poison ivy of our world. It's itch consumes my mind, until writing has become almost impossible. Since I have found it difficult to concentrate on the novella I'm working on, I decided to try a writing exercise. The picture above was my prompt. I hadn't intended to write about my poison ivy. It seems my subconscious had other plans. I had to share this one. Please critique away. Can you feel the mood I was going for? Where do you see I need to expand? Cut back? Any feedback is welcome as these exercises are to help me get better at my craft. And I pray you never have a run in with poison ivy and never experience its cursed rash!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Firework Overkill, Grumpy Old Goats, & CAPTCHA

Here in the States, our Independence Day celebration is only days away(July 4th) and I am so excited. Camping plans with friends are set, our gear is ready to go, we've had the first of many barbeques, and even had a neighbor come yell at us about shooting fireworks off in our neighborhood-on a Saturday night- the weekend before July 4th. What a grumpy old goat.

To be fair, the hub and kiddo might have gone a bit overboard with the fireworks.

*shrug* They only get to blow things up once a year. Boys will be boys, no?

To top it all off,  my sister is coming to visit for a couple of weeks. Woot!

Despite all of the fun, or maybe because of it, the creative juices are gushing. I've been finishing up my first novel and hope to get serious about submitting by the end of this summer. I've started another project, a novella, that is going to be killer! And I have a 3rd project that is singing to me in my dreams. Oh yeah, I am awesome!

My kiddo agrees. Yum, I love skittles!

I hope you all are enjoying your summer as much as I am!


I wanted to take a moment to talk again about CAPTCHA. I was new once and had no idea how badly I was sabotaging my own blog by requiring word verification. If you're blog still requires your guest to enter a security code or CAPTCHA before it will allow them to post a comment, you'll want to remove it. You have no idea how many people are reading your blog, like what they see, decide to comment, then change their mind when they are required to enter a CAPTCHA. Don't let this happen to you. Here is how you remove it!

1)Go to Settings
2) Click Post and Comments
3)On the drop down menu beside 'Show word verification' select 'No'

Any questions? Message me!

If you're in the States, how are you celebrating July 4th? If not in the States, what exciting plans do you have for the summer? Do you change your mind about commenting when you realize CAPTCHA/word verification is required?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Interesting Blog Posts!

I just spent the last hour reading from the list of blogs I follow and it occurred to me that this list is fairly eclectic. I'm rather picky about who I follow and have no problem with unfollowing someone if that blog floods my blog feed with junk.

Today, I've read a blog on politics, one on cooking, several on writing, one on parenthood, and one written by a comedian. I love getting to know such a diverse collection of people. So I thought I'd share the 3 that stood out to me the most. (This by no means represents all of my favorite blogs. That list would take much too long to share. These are just some I read today.) I love blogs that make me think, make me laugh out loud, and that teach me things each time I visit. I hope you find these as interesting.

The first blog I'd like to share comes from Arlee over at Tossing It Out. He touched on a subject that I truly feel is one of the biggest issues in our country today...Apathy: If it doesn't directly affect me, then it isn't important. -or- There's nothing I can do to change it anyway.
All I can say is, "Wake up, people!" Thanks, Arlee, for a great and very interesting post!

Second up is Kiran who is guest blogging on Scary Mommy today. Her post is about how much time we spend being unhappy with our bodies as women and how we raise our daughters to be the same. I totally agree with her...this is not right. Love your body and your daughter will love hers, too, ending the vicious cycle of discontent with how we look. Stop missing the best days of your life by focusing on what isn't perfect!


Next, T.B. McKenzie at Magickless talks about 5 things we writers all do in our first drafts. I was nodding through most of it and if you're also a writer, you'll be doing the same thing. We writers should never stop reading on our craft and reminding ourselves of those important things we learned while writing that first novel.

Finally, I'd like to share Heather's humor over at Minivan Momma. This lady cracks me up. She seems a bit...uh-hum, tired, today. While I don't post them, I have to admit I've had thoughts along the same lines as these. Too funny, Heather!

I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I did and that you'll give them a follow if you don't already. Believe me, they are each well worth it!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Feature Blog & Yoga


I'm so honored to announce that I was asked if my blog could be featured today on Write. Blog. Connect. It's a new blog and website set up by blogger and writers, Angela Christina Archer and Regina Walker as a place for writers and readers of all walks to unite. I hope you'll go on over and show them encouragement and support for this new endeavor.

Thank you Write. Blog. Connect. for choosing my blog as today's feature.


Today I'd like to talk about stress...and my newest method for getting rid of it.

For the last 7 years, I've been avid and consistent in making fitness a part of my daily routine. My goal was to avoid the tendency toward obesity in my family, to set a good example for my son, and to avoid things like diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol, if possible. What I hadn't considered was that it would also be good for ridding oneself of stress.

I prefer high intensity workouts that really make me sweat, elevate my heart rate, and turn my face a bright cherry red. The military might have had something to do with this.

I have always turned up my nose at what I considered the 'light' methods of exercise like Yoga and Pilates. I knew next to nothing about these except what I'd see as I passed by classrooms at my local YMCA on my way to whatever exercise I had planned for myself. (Ridiculous, I know.) It just seemed like stretching and breathing. Totally boring and not worth wasting my valuable time.

Last month, I experienced 2 of the most stressful weeks of my entire life. With them came high anxiety, a sick ulcer type feeling in my stomach, shaking hands, ricocheting emotions, and loss of appetite. I lost almost 10 pounds in less that a week and a half.

Being a business owner is tough.

Once I got through those 2 weeks, I knew with every fiber of my being that I needed something to help ease the stress on my mind and body. A friend suggested Yoga. (I might have rolled my eyes a bit.) Unsure how stretching was going to help, I reluctantly gave it a try.

WOW! I needed that!

That stretching is harder than it looks, but it is also the most relaxing,albeit physical, workout I've ever had. And I didn't even have get red in the face, out of breathe, or a stitch in my side. My muscles felt as though I'd done a round of muscle failure reaching weightlifting. My mind couldn't have been more relaxed.

So now my friend and I have made Yoga a weekly event. Which makes me wonder...what else have I been so closed minded about? I don't want to miss out on anything else so great for me!

Have you had something you were closed minded about, only to realize you were totally wrong? Do you like Yoga? Know any other methods of exercise good for relieving stress? I'm all ears, er, eyes. *wink*


I just watched Fast 5 for the first time (a friend told me I needed to see it before seeing Fast & Furious 6, currently in theaters). Vin Diesel makes such amazing eye-candy, don't you think?!